Adapting cognitive interviewing for early adolescent hispanic girls and sensitive topics

Anne E. Norris, Sylvia Torres-Thomas, Ellita T. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Cognitive interviewing is a research technique commonly used in survey research to improve measurement validity. However, this technique is useful to researchers planning to use self-report measures in intervention research because invalidity of such measures jeopardizes detection of intervention effects. Little research currently exists regarding the use of cognitive interviewing techniques with adolescent populations, particularly those who are Hispanic. This article describes common challenges to conducting cognitive interviewing with early adolescent girls and how these challenges are impacted by Hispanic culture and sensitive topics. A focus group approach is recommended over the traditional one-on-one cognitive interview format, and experiences from actual focus groups conducted in preparation for an intervention study are used to illustrate strategies for accomplishing the goals of cognitive interviewing. Creative and careful planning, attention to developmental considerations, and incorporation of cultural values are essential to the success of this approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)111-119
Number of pages9
JournalHispanic Health Care International
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2014


  • Adolescent girls
  • Cognitive interviewing
  • Focus groups
  • Refining study measures
  • Sensitive topics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)


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